"Once I got the pitch over then I eased into it … They were on my ground then"
"To be honest, the only time I ever remember being as nervous as that was when I was getting married. And the only thing I had to say at that was ‘I do.’ That was a quick and handy enough thing," Art McArdle says, reflecting on his Dragon's Den pitch which saw him walk away with a €60,000 investment in his energy company - Heat Hero.
The Irish firm has developed a new product which hopes to become an essential component of all solid fuel heating systems.
The product improves the flow of energy from stoves to water tanks and radiators
Transferring heat efficiently from stoves to heaters and hot water systems has been an age old problem:
"I’m a plumber myself, I grew up in a farming home, a big family of nine brothers and three sisters. The only heat source we had was in our house was solid fuel," Art told Newstalk.
When he built his own house and installed a solid fuel system, Art set about the challenge of making it as efficient as possible.
This resulted in a two-year quest as he began experimenting and "following the heat," before eventually inventing the Heat Hero.
It promises to provide more hot water and to get more heat to your radiators while using less fuel.
To buy and install competing systems to make solid fuel systems more efficient can cost up some €1,700 - the Heat Hero is available for €280. Art told Newstalk that an "apprentice" plumber would be able to carry out its simple installation and that the unit pays for itself after 12 months through energy bill savings.
After getting his initial pitch out of the way, Art settled into the task of taking on the Dragons' Den investors.
"Once I got the pitch over then I eased into it … They were on my ground then," he said the morning after the show aired, adding that there was "plenty of craic" during the 90-minute grilling.
While he had initially offered a 10% stake in the company for €60,000 - he ultimately gave away 32% to Eleanor McEvoy for the same price.
It was more than the highest stake he had expected to give up - but given her success and experience in the energy sector, she was the company's preferred investor before the pitch.
"Never should a stove go in again without this system," Art concluded.
Heat Hero is now approaching County Councils and hoping that they will start to use the product when installing solid fuel systems.
Its other main goal is to move into the lucrative UK market.
You can find out more about the product here